- Category: Reviews
- Published on Friday, 10 July 2015 19:40
I've learned a lot in my life time, doing martial arts and reviewing knives, also talking to guys who've use them in combat and assimilating information wherever I could find it. One thing I've learned is that stiletto knives or combat daggers have been used for as long as combat has been around, but most have the same flaw - and anyone who has used them can testify this to be true - weak tips.
Often the biggest complaint is that the point is too weak. The style of blade is made to penetrate a body so it's long and slender with a sharpened edge that runs the full length of the blade on both sides from the hilt to the tip. Because the blade has no real spine, this greatly diminishes its ability to be bent, or torque. Some makers compensate for this with a thicker center, making the blade have a more diamond shape if you look from the point down to the hilt. But still this makes the point weak as the shape tapers down as it gets to the point.
This brings me to my point, if you can excuse the pun, why I think the BESH Wedge design is so revolutionary. The BESH Wedge developed by Brent Beshara, a war vet with the Canadian Special forces, is a blade design like no other I've seen. It employs a twisting design where both cutting edges take a slight turn near the point, giving birth to a third cutting edge tip. The two by-products of this design are, you have a blade that keeps its thickness all the way to the very point, and increases its break strength immensely.
With older style blades like Fairbairn and Sykes developed by William E. Fairbairn and Eric A. Sykes, often when the blade is plunged into something whether it be body, bone or body armor, when it comes in contact with a steel buckle, armor plate in a plated carrier, or it can even be something like a bone, it can become stuck or glance off with the same result - the point breaks, leaving you with a tool that has been damaged and this greatly compromises its ability to do its job. Soldiers would also take and blunt the blade points so that this wouldn't happen.
Because a blade is in most cases as I was taught, your last line of defense, you only use it when your main weapon and side-arm are down or become lost. So for me if it came down to a knife that's going to be my last line of defense, I would want one that I can depend on, and the VP-100 is just such a knife.
I will also point out here, as I've been asked this question a number of times for different knives, can it be thrown? To which I always I reply, that's not what it's made for! You don't throw your knife and when it comes to balance you want it to be balanced so it can be used similar to how a fencing foil is used; the balance is more for maneuvering not throwing. This was something that was made very clear to me, you never intentionally throw away your weapon, a knife should only be thrown if it comes down to "I can't do anything else and I'm going to die" that would be just about the only scenario I would say a knife should be thrown! After all this is not the movies and you don't have 30 takes to get it right for the camera!
Another important thing to point out is a combat dagger like the VP-100 is a specialized tool. Its design is not like a Kabar, its main design is to slash and penetrate the body and in this regard the VP-100 excels, whereas a Kabar is a field knife meant to be used for everything, a general use tool to be used for cutting trees, fighting and just about anything.
I've seen first hand what a chisel point can do to the body, my father fell off a work bench and caught his hand on a chisel severing the arteries in the hand, and keep in mind this was a wood chisel not a knife like the VP-100 which is designed to do just that! The damage that a chisel point can do is devastating and incorporating this feature into a combat weapon is ingenious.
The blade also has serrations on both sides of the blade, just up from the hilt and finger choil. This would aid in pulling the blade out if it should become stuck and also is ideal if you need to cut something. Even if the blade is dull these serrations will stay shape and useable.
The VP-100 has a design that is comfortable to grip and also workable in a reverse grip. The handle has notched scallops on it that increase the grip but even more importantly than that, it's full tang with a guard and pummel. I feel very strongly that a combat knife should have a guard, this prevents the hand from slipping up the blade if it should become wet or if you drive the blade into something and it hits a hard obstruction.
This is something I couldn't understand with a blade like the CRKT Hissatsu, made by a man who has seen combat James Williams, having no guard can be dangerous in my opinion, if you're not gripping that knife just right it can slip and cut you, and after all the other guy you're fighting is already trying to do that, you don't need to help him!
The Full tang of the VP-100 is one of the best full tangs I've seen because of the BESH wedge - you get a blade that is the same thickness from pummel to point making for an externally strong design, that I've not see on any other knife. You have two G-10 slabs one on each side of the handle, which are attached to the knife with three hex screws or Allen screws. This design also wins points in my book as it's very easy to clean and maintain in the field, and one could even take the slabs off for even lower maintenance.
This brings me to my next point and that's the steel. AUS-8 is a Japanese steel similar to 440C and is used in a lot of knives as it has a high resistance to rust and corrosion. It's an easy steel to maintain and sharpen, but might not hold an edge like a higher carbon steel blade. But it's also not as high maintenance as a high carbon steel, so it's a trade off, for the lower maintenance and more rust resistance you get a knife that might need a little more sharpening from time to time. In this case it's ideal, as a combat dagger, you're not going to be using it like a field knife so you're not going to need to do a lot of sharping.
For the sheath, I'm going into this review a little biased as I hate injection-molded sheaths! This comes from years of reviewing knives, and I've never found an injection-molded sheath that was as good as normal molded kydex. That being said I will say this the sheath that comes with the VP-100 is the best I've seen - it holds the knife very well unlike others used that don't even hold a knife in the sheath. I feel, and this is just me, a knife sheath should hold a knife even when mounted upside down, and should be jump proof, as even if you're not jumping from planes you can have a hard fall down a hill or something and lose your knife. To me a knife is the most important tool and should be the last one you would lose even when all others are lost!
The VP-100 sheath also comes with two mounting systems made from injection molding, one is a belt loop and the other is two slabs that act like a MOLLE clip. This has both its good and bad - once the knife is attached it's going nowhere since it's attached to the MOLLE with screws, but on the other hand if you do need to get it off to switch from bag or belt to vest, it's going to take a tool. But as far as time, it's about the same as conventional MOLLE clips, as they can be a bugger to put on right.
All things being said, the BESH VP-100 is in my opinion the biggest leap in combat knife design I've seen in my lifetime. Its chisel point allows for driving through webbing and gear like butter and even more important, its point doesn't lose its strength even at the very tip, making for a tool that can take far more stress than conventional weapons. If I was in the market for a dagger knowing all that I do now, I would have to say the BESH VP-100 checks all the boxes, and it's a dagger I would take a strong look at!
To Check Out BESH Knives Go To www.beshknives.com